K Bean Coffee Machines - Paul's Blog
Here's a place for me, Paul, to share my coffee learning's and stories. If you love coffee and Italian coffee machines then I'm sure you'll enjoy clicking through my K Bean Coffee Machines Blog.
My Own Home Coffee Journey
Like most of us, I started off with instant. A device called the Phillips Senseo came along and that was a huge leap forward. It was similar to a modern day pod machine but used coffee bags instead of pods. At the time, and in comparison to instant, it was great.
Nest step was a big one - I decided to spend up big (cough) and grabbed a thermoblock Sunbeam coffee machine and a Sunbeam grinder. Again, at the time it was great. Another step upwards.
Next after several months of online research and dozens of of posts on the Melbourne coffee forums I jumped again. This time it was to a single boiler Italian coffee machine - a Rancilio Slivia. I also upgraded to a commercial grinder. A huge step up yet again but before long the poor thermal stability and temperature surfing was driving me mad, so I opened up the machine and installed a custom PID controller. The PID controller resulted in a huge improvement, and yes, another step upwards.
Things were progressing and it was now the lure of the manual Italian coffee machine with an e61 that won me over. I grabbed one of the original ECM Giotto coffee machines (the father of the Rocket Giotto coffee machine). Damn!!! Now this was getting good. Before this changes were steps. The move from the single boiler coffee machine to the e61 heat exchanger was a leap up 3 steps!
From then on I was absolutely hooked by the coffee hobby. I developed my own custom-designed coffee roaster to roast my own beans, I created manual brew apparatus from bits and bobs, including some very cool cold drip towers. I also played with dozens of off-the-shelf manual brewing toys including the V60 pourover, the Chemex, the Aeropress, cold drip towers, cold steep brewers, siphons and many more.
When it came to Italian coffee machines and grinders I was cycling through them at what some might call an alarming rate. I basically upgraded my machine and/or grinder almost annually. I guess I would call this is my coffee gear freak stage. There were no Giant leaps here in terms of in the cup coffee quality but I just loved the tech and the experience of driving the very best Italian coffee machines and grinders.
...and then K Bean Coffee Machines was born and trying out new gear became part of my "job." What more can I say. Happy days :)
Coffee Forums - A Guide
Paul here again. Time to share my thoughts on forums.
After 3000+ posts on coffee forums and a stint as a Coffee Snobs Sponsor I have seen it all. There is an ecliptic mix of forum users. At one end there are the salt-of-the-earth coffee hobbyists and at the other end there are the purely commercial users.
Among the coffee enthusiasts there are some who are coffee bean focused and others who love playing with the latest coffee machines and other coffee tech. There are people who buy coffee machines and equipment on a budget and with the help of coffee forums they find ways to brew magnificent coffee without that second mortgage. There are also the gear freaks who just love trying out the latest coffee tech. And yes, I'll confess that before I started up the K Bean Coffee Machines business I was a well known coffee gear freak.
The commercial players are a mixed bag. Most are honest and respectable, but some use the forums as a means of spreading misinformation to promote their business interests. Then there's the forum admin lurking in the background with total power to edit and sensor anything that offends their biggest sponsors.
Of course, forums can be fantastic, but choose a good one. Take care and do your best to separate information from misinformation - Just like separating the under and over-roasted beans from a roast :)
On a personal note, I really enjoyed the Coffee Snobs forum as a member but NOT as a sponsor. With sponsorship the forum became a battleground. I left a little bruised, disillusioned and bitter. Not as bitter as a long black bore of low grown, wet processed, dark roasted, over-extracted beans, but pretty close :)
K Bean Coffee Machines on The Block
K Bean on The Block - WOW!!! It started with a text from a guy called "Hans" saying he was on Channel 9's The Block and wanted a Profitec Pro 500 coffee machine for their kitchen for 2018 Season's "Challenge Week." And no, not just any Italian coffee machine. He really wanted a Profitec because he had seen one and knew that they are very, very GOOD looking. After a quick chat with Hans I knew it wasn't some prank and I was ready to join the challenge.
I had sold my last Profitec Pro 500, including my own demo unit, just a few days earlier. I had more units due the next week but that was too late as Challenge Week ended the very next day. After a few calls I finally tracked down the very last Profitec Pro 500 left in Melbourne. It was on the other side of the city, so I set out for on a 3 hour round trip. I really was part of the TV time challenge.
When I arrived at The Block it was just madness. A hive of activity with tradies, contestants and TV people just everywhere. They miked me up and then I went about meeting Hans and the team, then walked the gear in and set it all up in a very dusty, almost complete kitchen.
An amazing day and a very proud day for me. What a cool thing it is to create a hobby business and see it grow, and to get a little gig on TV like this a little cream on the cake - just amazing.
Thanks again to all of you guys who love my K Bean, and look out for me on Channel 9's The Block. 2018 Season, Gatwick Hotel, St Kilda. Airing in week 12
...and good luck from me to the "Hans & Courtney" team !!!
Paul here again :)
...so what do I do when I go on holiday? Do I lug my 25kg Italian coffee machine and 10kg grinder along? No way!
I use the simplest, cheapest and probably one of the world's oldest brewing methods - The very humble but very capable Manual Brew pourover. The result is light, sweet fruity coffee with ease.
Here's one of my hiking holiday happy pics:
Cold Drip Coffee
Cold drip coffee was one of the first products that K Bean stocked so I owe cold brew a few words of support.
I first experienced cold drip from my own home made cold drip tower - WOW - a slurp of ripened fruit, milk chocolate and thick honey. It really surprised me at the time.
After a little reading I learned that the chemistry of cold extract is completely different to coffee processed with hot water. The most obvious difference is the low acidity of a cold brew due to the absence of tongue-tingling Quinic Acid
I still use my cold drip tower. I drip slowly overnight at around 1 drip per second. In the morning I pack the cold concentrate in a flask. Then I take it just about anywhere and everywhere including to work, and on days on the town.
You really must try it one day.
Home Espresso Perfection
To me home espresso is all about the pursuit of perfection. And it's always a pursuit as perfection is never achieved.
Why not? Well, espresso (and other coffees made with Italian coffee machines) is always different. It's never the same. Even a competition barista will get some variations from day to day and even from espresso shot to espresso shot.
Is this a problem? Absolutely not. The challenge of the pursuit is gripping, and the daily variations and occasional god shot just keep the interest flowing.
So, pursue perfection but know that you will never get there.
Enjoy the journey and don't forget to smell the coffee beans along the way.
Gotta run now. It's espresso time.
A Huge Thanks from Paul
It's Paul here with my very first Blog.
I'll start with a big THANKS to past and present customers of K Bean Coffee Machines as well as a preemptive THANKS for future customers.
Many of you are interstate, but Melbourne Coffee Machine buyers have been able to visit me for training. It's the people I meet that give me the biggest boost and make this journey such a joy.
Enjoy your toys :)
Paul (and the K Bean family crew)